Earlier today, the Minnesota House of Representatives had an opportunity to override Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a bill to continue to provide basic medical services to 70,000 Minnesotans through General Assistance Medical Care.
The bill, which passed which passed two weeks ago with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, ensured that Minnesota’s most vulnerable — including 8,000 veterans — do not go without the health care coverage they need.
Over the weekend, over 2,200 Minnesotans used participated in our Save GAMC campaign, writing letters to their legislators — particularly the 38 Republicans who voted in favor of the original bill — to vote yes once again.
Denise Cardinal, Executive Director here at Alliance for a Better Minnesota:
This afternoon, Republican Rep. Paul Kohls declared that it’s a sad day in Minnesota when politicians "put politics ahead of getting things done."
He’s right — and when it comes to providing basic health care services for 70,000 Minnesotans, Rep. Kohls’ statement certainly applies to the 38 Republican legislators who took back their original vote in favor of the General Assistance Medical Care service.
Under pressure from the governor and party leaders, they decided their political agenda was more important than listening to the thousands of constituents, faith leaders, doctors and nurses, and veterans who joined you in calling on them to save GAMC.
The decision of Republican legislators like Marty Seifert to reverse their support for legislation to save GAMC was a decision put the interests of the Republican party ahead of their constituents. At least half of the Minnesotans covered through the GAMC service now have just one option to get the medical care they need — the emergency room. This kind of "Emergency Room Health Care Plan" advocated by the likes of Tim Pawlenty is the most costly option for all of us.
Minnesotans expect more than political calculation from their governor and as candidates for the Republican Governor’s endorsement, legislators like Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer had an opportunity to show real leadership on this issue.
Sadly, they did not. It’s not leadership to throw the most vulnerable 70,000 Minnesotans under the bus because party leaders say so. This sort of politics is what got us into this budget mess, and it’s certainly not what will get us out of it.
This is only the first time that we will see this sort of partisan calculation during this legislative session. From education cuts, deeper cuts to health care, to gutting the higher education budget, we’ll need to push back just as hard as we did this time.
If legislators like Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer expect Minnesotans to believe they have the vision to move Minnesota forward, they’ll have to set aside obstructionism and partisan games and make a real effort to put Minnesota on the right track.
We’ll be watching.
Thank you again for working with us to move Minnesota forward,
Alliance for a Better Minnesota